Returning home from a plantation in Pondicherry
Country side. That’s what I remember firstly when I hear Strist Village. A part of India that differentes itself from the regular cultures and tries to connect two groups of people into one. The disabled and non disabled ones. Let me tell you the about agriculture in India, differences of Indian and western culture and living in such an environment as a foreigner.
- Working as: Farmer
- Place: Thazhuthali, Tamil Nadu, India
- Time I’ve spent there: 12.11.16 – 03.12.16
Karthikeyan G., 34
Karthik already worked as a teenager for an orphanage in the south of India. As the owner passed suddenly away, he took with an incredible young age of 22 over the orphanage, as no one else showed an interest in responsibility. He soon realized the the differences between mentally challenged and stable people and made it his goal until today to create a community, where both parties may live under one roof.
The “Office house” and the “Pink house” are two little houses located in the unknown village of Thazhuthali. While Karthik spends most of the time in the office and lives there with his wife, the pink house is a place that accommodates all the volunteers, working for the project. The Sristi Village is a 15 minute ride away from the house and leads away from the main road to he fields. After greeting every kid you pass by and avoiding all the animals and holes hindering your aim, you’ll reach a large land with a center of few houses and shelters.
40 people or so? At least if you count all the workers and teachers together, then it’s definitely 40. The village consists not only of disabled people, but also orphans, deaf and other exceptions. Everyone stays on their own accord and has different disabilities and tasks to complete during a day. Usually it begins with working in the early morning around the village then taking a shower, breakfast, school, and some work in the later evening. The people have a repetitive structure anddifferent volunteers interacting with them. Fernanda from Argentina was a great teacher. Laura from USA was mainly doing office work with Karthik, the two Germans that volunteer there for a year, were mainly escaping from work time on the fields, which means that in the beginning, Ignacio and I were the only foreigners working agricultural business.
Agriculture and cultural differences
There’s a problem with people in India. They do go to school and study hard however, all they train is the ability to remember, not to create. If I tell the “supervisor”, a young Indian man with a long way to go still, that productivity of work can be raised by 300% by using a tool and a bull, instead of backbreaking baby shovels, then that’s an issue which does not reach a logic sense in their brains. All they think is: “All our ancestors did it, so we do it. It’s culture and therefore we should use these backbreaking tools.”
Productivity has no means to them. Neither do they understand the concept of a socialized standard system about creating efficient work and taking time off, nor do they take actions in ideas, but simply let it be in the hands of whoever should be called now in the heavens.
Indian people are not lazy. For a salary of less than 300 USD per month, you can employ yourself a worker for a whole day, doing hard work. However, they are unprofessional in terms of productivity and take a break as soon as they smell a chance. Like a child. Not only I got confronted with upsetting facts, but I recommend every traveler to undergo a lesson in third world working behavior. It is very interesting and gives you a great understanding in the differences of a western country and India.
Breaks from the Sristi village were absolutely necessary. The people are draining energy out of one, you must regain it from somewhere else. And that’s where the “Pink house” comes into play. A usual workday for Ignacio and I started, by taking our cycles and ride to Sristi. After Lunch and work, we drove back and went straight to the “Tea lady” in the village of Thazhuthali, where we each had tea for 9 cents. Then we took a nap, washed our cloths, read and talked, had a cigarette and before we knew, evening came and someone brought dinner from Sristi. Then I used to go up to the rooftop and read star constellations or having a good chat, before going to bed.
Three weeks of Sristi Village. I learned so much from it, even though I thought I already know so much about this country and it’s people.. never mind then. Of course, I enjoyed my times with another dozen of volunteers passing by and made friends, studies and great times with Karthik and his Sristi project. I give a big shoutout to his visions, will and strength and and recommend him as a role model for India. The power of building an own community all alone by own hands.. Sristi Village.
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